A Contribution to The Study of Global Competition for Talent: the determinants of student mobility and its consequences for the inter- nationalization of the labor market
In a globalized economy the skills of the workforce are a key determinant of the competitiveness of a country. One of the goals of Higher Education is precisely to develop the students’ skills in order to allow them to match the increasing demand for highly qualified workers while it is simultaneously the best period of life to acquire multicultural skills. For this reason, the European Union has fostered student mobility through several programs: the Erasmus program and the Bologna process are the best known among them. Although student mobility is a growing phenomenon, publications and research on the subject remain relatively scarce. This paper aims to contribute to that literature through an empirical analysis which exploits a questionnaire submitted to university alumni and focuses on two research questions: what drives studies abroad and what drives expatriation of graduates. Our empirical analysis first shows that exposure to international experiences before entering tertiary education and family background are the main factors influencing student mobility. A second conclusion is that studying abroad increases the international mobility on the labor market. Both confirm previous studies. Moreover, by making a distinction between participating in the Erasmus program and in other exchange programs or internships abroad, we found that the Erasmus program and the other programs or internships have an equivalent influence on the international mobility on the labor market: they increase by 9 to 12.5 percentage points a student’s chance to be mobile on the international labor market. This result shows the legitimacy of the Erasmus program, but it also reveals the important impact of other forms of experience abroad. It provides support for policy makers to encourage mobility programs, in order to foster integration of the European labor market.
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